Thursday, November 11, 2010

Kitty kitty

Last week I put the trail camera on a small drying pool on our property.  We created this shallow depression a few years ago and it has served its purpose well as an amphibian breeding site.  The deer love it also and tracks were abundant.  I thought I'd get some interesting deer photos, but this was what I ended up with:

In the comments section of a previous post, Dave Steen said that in addition to the handful of ambiguous trail camera photos that might be a jaguarundi, we also should be getting trail camera images of black house cats that are clearly just that and nothing else.  My response was that nobody's likely to report or post such photos, because it would be of little interest to anyone.

Well, this is without doubt a domestic cat, Felis catus.  There are a lot of them out there.  I got these photos far too easily for someone with an interest in melanistic felids.  I'll admit that had the animal been walking away with its head down and out of clear view, or had the focus or lighting been poor, this might have gone to the "interesting photos" file.  Having multiple images certainly helps (these were four minutes apart).  If there are jaguarundis in this part of the world, it will take either a dead body or photos as clear and unambiguous as these to confirm their existence.


  1. Well, this brings me no pleasure, but it does make for an amusing anecdote. Please share your reaction the first two seconds after seeing the first picture. I'd also suggest playing around with photoshop on the top one.

  2. Dave: If I hadn't actually seen this cat in the flesh for the first time only 10 minutes before checking the camera I would have likely been more startled. But as it was, I'd been pre-conditioned for house cat. There are also two other photos of the cat from the top series.

  3. I agree that "pre-conditioning" plays a huge role in perception.
    Consider these conditions:
    1. Interest in jaguarundi sightings in Alabama
    2. Go to a web site where the author is trying to capture photographic evidence of a jaguarundi
    3. See a clear photo of a cat with no scale
    4. Add some wishful thinking (aka groupthink) and voila'! I am convinced, at least partially, I have seen something that better judgement tells me is very unlikely.
    We can, and should, all be hopeful that elusive, native species be detected in unexpected places, but also need to proceed with extraordinary caution. That said, I think we are more likely to see good photographic evidence of a jaguarundi in Alabama than an extant ivory bill.

  4. Good point, Anonymous. People see what they want to see. Like I said, it's going to take extraordinary evidence to confirm the existence of jaguarundis, IF they're here. And note I did say IF. I'm no true believer by any means, just having some fun with a possible long shot.

  5. Modern trail cameras have a variety of features to aid in your hunting success. The time/date stamp on images informs you not only of the animals on the property, but when they are traveling. This one piece of information lets you know whether to be in your stand at daybreak when that big buck is heading back to his bedding area or during the evening hours as he leaves it to forage for food.
    Bushnell trophy cam